240-644-6000
Servicing DC, MD & VA

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 8th, 2019 | Comments Off on Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States. To help spread awareness of this disease, October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Prevalence of Breast Cancer About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. While there are some breast cancer risk factors that you can’t control, these prevention strategies can help you reduce your risk:
 
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
     
  • Exercise regularly.
     
  • Abstain from drinking alcohol or limit intake to one drink per day.
If you’re concerned about your personal risk of developing breast cancer, call or visit your doctor. Breast Cancer Awareness Month and You There are a variety of ways that you can support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are just a few ideas:
 
  • Participate in a fundraiser event, like a walk or run, to help raise money for breast cancer research.
     
  • Donate to a charity that provides support and services to women and families that are affected by breast cancer.
     
  • Learn about the signs, symptoms, risk factors and screenings for breast cancer.
     
  • Spread awareness about this disease to help educate friends and family.
For more information on breast cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute’s website.
 

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Emotional Balance and Well-Being

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Emotional Balance and Well-Being | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

HOW’S YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH?

Emotional well-being is something all of us want, but few of us take time to think about and work on. That’s a big mistake, says therapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, author of The Burnout Cure. Good emotional balance can boost happiness, improve relationships and support recovery from a mental health condition—and that’s not all, Hanks says. Reducing emotional stress also helps combat a host of physical ailments, including obesity, heart disease and digestive problems. Can you tell when you and others are doing a good job of working on emotional well-being? Watch for these signs.

LABELING YOUR EMOTIONS

“Emotional well-being starts with becoming aware of your emotions,” says Hanks. One sign of awareness is the ability to name what you’re feeling. “Just identifying an unpleasant emotion can decrease its intensity,” Hanks says. In contrast, if you know you feel yucky but can’t pinpoint the emotion, that’s a warning sign.

Practice this skill: When you aren’t sure what you’re feeling, run through a mental checklist of basic emotions: happiness, surprise, disgust, fear, anger and sadness. Use context and body cues (for instance, sweaty palms or clenched teeth) to help you figure out which ones you’re feeling. It gets easier with practice, Hanks says.

REACHING OUT FOR SUPPORT

“It’s a myth that you should feel happy all the time,” says Hanks. Instead, being emotionally healthy means experiencing all your emotions and then dealing with them in a positive way. People who are good at this skill know how to manage difficult feelings by turning to others for support. In contrast, those who struggle with this skill often try to dull their feelings with food, alcohol, drugs or the TV remote. 

Practice this skill: “When you ask someone for support, be specific about what would feel comforting to you,” Hanks advises. “For example, you might say, ‘I’m so upset. Can I vent, and will you just tell me I’m a good person?'”

BEING KIND TO YOURSELF

“Another sign of emotional health is being kind to yourself when you’re feeling distressed,” says Hanks. Show yourself the same compassion you would give a loved one who is upset. In a recent study, college women who took part in a training program in self-compassion showed decreased brooding and increased optimism and self-confidence. 

Practice this skill: When you need a hug but there’s no one to give you one, fold your arms and give yourself a little squeeze. “Or stroke your own arm soothingly,” Hanks says. “This produces the same physiological response as getting comfort from someone else.”

8 SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL BALANCE AND WELL-BEING

“Even an emotionally healthy person will feel hurt by rejection. That’s just the way we’re wired,” says psychologist Guy Winch, PhD, author of Emotional First Aid. Someone with good emotional skills will take steps to ease the sting of rejection and rebuild self-esteem. In contrast, someone who is less emotionally adept may withdraw into a shell or become overly self-critical.

Practice this skill: When you’ve been rejected, Winch suggests reviving your self-esteem by making a list of five pertinent things that you value about yourself. For example, if you were turned down for a date, you can list five qualities that make you a good dating prospect.

OWNING UP TO MISTAKES

“Emotionally healthy people can recognize when they’ve made a mistake, make it right and then move on,” says Winch. When someone else points out the error, they accept it without becoming defensive or overwhelmed. In contrast, people who are less emotionally grounded may react with hostility or a flood of tears. 

Practice this skill: When your misstep hurts someone, offer a complete, sincere apology. Research shows that the best apologies have four elements: They spell out your intent (“I want to apologize”), convey emotion (“I deeply regret what I did”), offer an explanation (“I wasn’t thinking”) and accept fault (“I was out of line”).

KEEPING STRESS IN CHECK

“Another sign of emotional well-being is being able to cope with stressful situations,” says Winch. If you’re a good stress manager, you’ve probably found several calming techniques that work for you, such as counting to 10, taking deep breaths, calling a friend or going for a walk. If you’re not, out-of-control stress may lead to temper outbursts, trouble sleeping, headaches, an upset stomach or other problems. 

Practice this skill: When you’re feeling stressed, watch how you talk to yourself in your head, advises Winch. Cut out negative self-talk (“I can’t do this”). Replace it with realistically positive thoughts (“I’ll do the best I can”).

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

Mindfulness is more than just the buzzword du jour, says Hanks. It’s a proven technique for reducing stress, decreasing hostility, improving relationships and boosting enthusiasm. Simply put, mindfulness means being fully aware of your internal experience as it unfolds from moment to moment. You notice sensations, feelings and thoughts, but you don’t judge them or get hung up on them. 

Practice this skill: When you need to reboot your mental focus, take a mindful stroll. Notice your breath going in and out, your muscles tensing and relaxing and your feet pushing against the ground. Be aware of all the sights, sounds and smells around you.

CARVING OUT TIME FOR FUN

“Ask yourself: ‘Which activities bring me a lot of satisfaction and joy? Have I spent time doing those things lately? If not, how can I squeeze in more time for them?'” says Winch. Looking for ways to get the most enjoyment from life is another hallmark of emotional well-being. Ideally, you should spend some time every day on just-for-fun activities, such as listening to music, reading a novel or soaking in a hot bath. 

Practice this skill: Winch suggests taking a day — or longer, if you can — to play tourist around your hometown. Do the kinds of things you like to do on vacation, such as going for a hike, visiting a museum or taking photos of the landscape.

LIVE WELL WORK Well : Poor Diets

August 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on LIVE WELL WORK Well : Poor Diets | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

1 in 5 Deaths Worldwide Associated With Poor Diets

According to a recently published study, 11 million deaths in 2017 were attributable to dietary risk factors. That total number translates to one-fifth of the world’s total deaths. The study defines dietary risk factors and poor diets as ones that are heavy in sugar, salt and trans fats.  

While this study reveals startling numbers, it’s a well-known fact that eating healthy can help reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. By keeping such conditions at bay, you can maintain your overall health and be well on your way to living a long, healthy life.

Here are some tips to help you start eating healthier:

  • Balance your plate with a variety of foods. Your plate should be 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% lean meat, poultry or fish, and 25% grains.
  •  
  • Get a personalized eating plan. Speak with your doctor to develop a plan that will give you the amounts of each food group you need daily. Your doctor may recommend you seek out a registered dietician or nutritionist to create the best plan for you.
  •  
  • Beware of sweetened drinks. Sodas and sports drinks are high in calories and sugars or sugar substitutes. Whenever possible, choose water over these drinks.
  •  
  • Read food labels carefully. Make sure to always read nutrition labels to find out how healthy a particular food may be. It’s also important to check the ingredient list, which is different from the nutritional label.

For more information on how you can improve or maintain a healthy diet, contact your doctor.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Going Camping?

July 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Going Camping? | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Here’s the Rundown of What You Need to Know

As the temperatures rise and the days become longer, many Americans will head out on camping adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned camping pro or new to the activity, it’s always a good idea to review camping safety tips.

Don’t Forget to Pack the Essentials

Before setting out, it is important that you remember to pack things like fresh water, food, a first-aid kit, matches, insect repellent, extra clothing and a waterproof tent.

Think Twice Before Pitching Your Tent

It’s important to carefully consider where you’re setting up camp. Avoid low-lying areas that could flood during a heavy rain. Also, in windy conditions, avoid setting up your tent under a tree, as possible falling limbs could present a danger.

Campfire Safety

If you’re not careful, a campfire can quickly become dangerous. Keep the following tips in mind to stay safe:

  • If possible, surround the fire pit with rocks, and keep a bucket of water nearby.
     
  • Do not build the fire near the tent(s) or anything else flammable.
     
  • Never leave a fire unattended, and ensure it is completely out before going to bed.
     
  • Collect firewood from the ground only, never cut into living trees.

Prioritize Safety Over Fun

To keep the experience fun and safe there are some basic precautions that every camper should take. What’s discussed here is just the beginning of camping safety. For more information on how you can remain safe on your trip, click here

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Fuel Your Workout the Right Way

June 10th, 2019 | Comments Off on Fuel Your Workout the Right Way | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

You have to put gas in your car to make it go, right? The same concept can be applied to your body and working out. Just like you can’t expect your car to get you from point A to point B without fuel, you can’t expect your body to get you through a workout if it’s not properly fueled. Here’s what you should be eating before, during and after a workout for optimal results.

Before Your Workout

Nutritionists agree that the best way to fuel your workout is to eat 1-4 grams of carbs per every 2.2 pounds of your weight about an hour before your workout. Some examples of a good pre-workout snack include a piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices, fruit and Greek yogurt, or a peanut butter and banana protein smoothie. You should also make sure you’re hydrated before you start your workout.

During Your Workout

If your workout lasts less than 45 minutes, you really only need to focus on replenishing the fluids you’re sweating out. If your workout is focused on endurance, like an extended run or lengthy lifting session, consume 30-60 grams of carbs per hour to fuel your workout.

After Your Workout

What you eat after your workout is just as important as what you eat before. Make sure to consume 15-25 grams of protein within one hour of finishing your workout to replenish the muscle glycogen you exerted during your sweat session. Continue to hydrate and consume protein to help keep muscle soreness at bay. If you had a particularly intense workout, consider drinking water or sports drinks enriched with electrolytes to fully replenish your body.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Improve Your Daily Mental Health

May 8th, 2019 | Comments Off on Improve Your Daily Mental Health | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Mental health plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being. It affects everything, including how we think, feel and act, and helps determine how we make healthy choices and cope with stress.

Because it’s such a crucial component of your health, it’s important to focus on maintaining or improving your mental health. Here are five simple ways to do so every day:

  1. Express gratitude. Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive.

  2. Get exercise. You probably hear all the time how beneficial exercise is to your overall health, but it’s true. Exercising regularly can benefit your brain function, reduce anxiety and improve your self-image.

  3. Spend time outdoors. Getting outside, especially when it’s sunny, can greatly improve your mood, which in turn, benefits your mental health.

  4. Be kind. Helping others and being kind not only helps the receiver of the act, but can also help you. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy—holding the door or giving a compliment can go a long way.

  5. Get a good night’s sleep. Fatigued individuals typically experience drowsiness, mood changes, loss of energy and appetite, headaches, and a lack of motivation, concentration and alertness. Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night to improve your mental health.

Don’t Let Tax Filing Season

April 5th, 2019 | Comments Off on Don’t Let Tax Filing Season | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Don’t Let Tax Filing Season Get the Best of You

The April 15 deadline to file your 2018 tax returns will be here before you know it. If you’re like many Americans, hearing the phrase “tax season” can induce stress—and for good reason. Filing your taxes can be confusing, but, with the help of a tax professional, it doesn’t have to be. In addition to contacting a certified tax professional, review the following information.

How to File

Many people elect to file their tax returns electronically. This can be done in a variety of ways, including using tax-preparation software, consulting a tax return professional or using the IRS’ Free File software, if you qualify.

Forms to Include

If you are filing with a paper form, there are certain documents you must be sure to include. Required forms include the following:

  • A copy of your W-2 for each of your employers over the last calendar year
  • A copy of Form W-2C (a corrected W-2 form), if received from your employer
  • A copy of Forms W-2G and 1099-R, if federal income tax was withheld

Next Steps

Remember, tax filing doesn’t have to be stressful. Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing. For more information on how to file, what forms to include, credits you qualify for or any other filing-related questions, please visit the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant tool.

forms include the following:

  • A copy of your W-2 for each of your employers over the last calendar year
  • A copy of Form W-2C (a corrected W-2 form), if received from your employer
  • A copy of Forms W-2G and 1099-R, if federal income tax was withheld

Next Steps

Remember, tax filing doesn’t have to be stressful. Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing. For more information on how to file, what forms to include, credits you qualify for or any other filing-related questions, please visit the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant tool.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Don’t let Allergies Bring You Down

March 1st, 2019 | Comments Off on Don’t let Allergies Bring You Down | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. In particular, springtime allergies are an annual nuisance for many people. As plants begin to bloom and neighbors start to cut their grass more frequently, allergy sufferers nationwide start sniffling and sneezing. What’s more, mold growth blooms both indoors and outdoors, making it almost impossible to escape allergy triggers. 

Spring Allergy Alleviation Tips

To reduce your allergies, be sure to take the following steps:

  • Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.
     
  • Wash your hair before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in your hair.
     
  • Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.
     
  • Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit skin exposure and dust and chemical inhalation.
  •  
  • Vacuum twice a week.
  •  
  • Make sure the rugs you have are washable.
  •  
  • Change air conditioning and heating air filters often.

Treating Allergies

Treatment for most allergies is available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Talk to your doctor to find out what treatment method is right for you. If your allergy symptoms are severe or chronic, you may need a series of allergy shots. Contact your physician or allergist to determine which treatment option is best for you.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Reduce Your Stress

February 4th, 2019 | Comments Off on Reduce Your Stress | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 1 in 3 women has a form of cardiovascular disease. And, heart disease is the leading cause of hospital stays for men in the United States. Due to the prevalence of the disease, the AHA recognizes each February as American Heart Month in hopes of raising awareness about the disease and how to prevent it.

Stress and Heart Health

While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. One of those things is to reduce your stress.

When stress is excessive, it can contribute to a host of health problems, including high blood pressure. If high blood pressure goes untreated, it can result in heart disease.

Reducing Your Stress

Taking steps to reduce your stress will improve your overall health. Try these tips:

  • Plan and prioritize your most important responsibilities.
     
  • Listen to relaxing music to help you calm down.
     
  • Take time off from work to clear your mind.
     
  • Exercise regularly to get your blood and endorphins flowing.

When to Seek Help

If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these simple techniques, consider seeking professional assistance. A knowledgeable professional will be able to work with you to devise time management skills and stress-reducing techniques.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.